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UCLA researchers say Prop 36 could be improved

California taxpayers are saving money by sentencing non-violent drug offenders to treatment instead of jail. That's one of the conclusions of a new evaluation of Prop 36 prepared by UCLA researchers. KPBS Reporter Kenny Goldberg has more.

The report shows taxpayers save nearly $2.50 for every dollar invested in treatment for non-violent drug offenders. Most of the savings come from reductions in jail and prison time.

UCLA researcher Darren Urada: "What we found is that Proposition 36 was a step in the right direction. Prop 36 is saving the taxpayers money. We saved about $173 million for the first year. But at the same time we feel it could be improved."

Urada says Prop 36 needs to do a better job of getting drug offenders into treatment. He says too many people skip out after sentencing. And he says the program needs to make residential treatment more available.

Kenny Goldberg, KPBS News.

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